For small businesses which platform to use and when to use is very critical.
Social media has become a vital strategy for attracting customers and selling products.
The marketing-services company Sensis says the number of small and medium enterprises with a social-media presence has risen from 31 per cent to 48 per cent this year.
Melbourne based career coach, Naishadh Gadani, says that business through social media can be a source of some extra income for new grants.
Amna Irshad migrated to Australia almost 10 years ago and started her own small business as a photographer and videographer in Melbourne.
Amna says that initially it was quite difficult but thanks to Facebook’s South Asian and local suburbia community pages, in the last 1 year, her business is booming and people are appreciating her talent.
Sensis says knowing which platform to use -- and when to use it -- is critical.
The Factoria cafe in Sydney's west only uses Facebook and Instagram to advertise its products and events.
General manager Carmelina Catanzariti says posts of its sweets and cakes are popular but she is not only looking for "likes" - "It's more than 'likes.' We're looking for comments. We're looking for 'shares.' If we see anyone sharing our Instagram posts or sharing our Facebook, that's when we know we've reached out."
But sometimes, Ms Catanzariti says, she needs to pay to promote a post for greater exposure - "We may have a large fan base, but it may only reach a small percentage of people. So that's why, with the algorithms, that sometimes we need to pay for the post, so it reaches a larger amount of people. So that's when we look at our insights as well, to know when it is the best time to post."
While the team at The Factoria prefers to use more traditional forms of social media, others are using new platforms.
Naishadh, giving his own example, shares how many types of social media platforms people can utilise.
Naishadh further adds that as he is a career coach, so for him LinkedIn works best.
The founders of the teeth-whitening product distributor HiSmile, Nik Mirkovic and Alex Tomic, say they now focus on Snapchat to drive sales.
Mr Mirkovic says Snapchat has its advantages - "We're obviously now on Instagram, Facebook -- Facebook's massive with advertising -- but I think the one we're really looking at is Snapchat. There's just so much potential there. There's so much attention from our target market, the 14- to 24-year-old females especially."
Alex Tomic says they pay influencers, often models or former reality-television personalities, to take over their account and post entertaining content featuring their gels - "We see the trend definitely going towards Snapchat, and it's something that, for us, we feel we have to be the first one on there, we have to be putting good content on that social-media platform. So it was the right move to get someone full-time just to manage and put this content in."
It can be hard to measure the success of a social-media strategy, but the pair say it has helped expand their business since they started by investing $10,000 each 18 months ago.
The business is now turning over 10 million dollars.
Sensis's Libby Hay says a business is better off on social media, even if dealing with negative feedback can be uncomfortable - "It's great that businesses are moving more to social media, but there's still quite a long way to go. (There are) a couple of reasons why. We know around 52 per cent of consumers who have a positive experience with a brand online are more likely to then go and purchase products or services from that particular brand."
For more SBS Small Business Stories: www.sbs.com.au/bizsecrets